Edwards v UK 46477/99 [2002] ECHR 303

Christopher Edwards was killed by a prison cellmate, Richard Linford; both suffered from schizophrenia. (1) The duty under Article 2 to protect life could extend to taking preventive operational measures to protect an individual against criminal acts of another, where the authorities knew (or ought to have known) of a real and immediate risk to the life of an identified individual. Information was available identifying Linford as posing such a risk. The failure to pass on this information, and the inadequate screening of Linford, amounted to a breach of Article 2. (2) No inquest was held, and the trial did not involve witness evidence. The private inquiry which was held (a) had no power to compel witnesses, and (b) was held in private, with the parents unable to participate to the extent necessary to safeguard their interests: Article 2 was breached in this respect. (3) There was no appropriate domestic means of determining whether the authorities failed to protect the right to life or of obtaining compensation, so Article 13 (effective remedy) was breached.

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